April 22, 2024

The Rising Prominence of Green Surfactants is Revolutionizing the Oleochemicals Industry

The oleochemicals market consists of various chemicals derived from plant and animal fats and oils through processes like hydrogenation and transesterification. Key products include fatty acids, fatty alcohol, glycerol and methyl esters. Fatty acids dominate and find application in soaps, detergents, lubricants and corrosion inhibitors due to their surfactant properties. They provide excellent cleaning and frothing abilities when used as an emulsifying agent or wetting agent. Glycerol has emerged as a major co-product with an array of uses including personal care products, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, food and polyglycerols.

The global oleochemicals market is estimated to be valued at US$ 27.91 Bn in 2024 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 9.0% over the forecast period 2024 to 2030.

Sustainable substitutes for petrochemicals coupled with strict environmental regulations have propelled the demand for plant-based raw materials in end-use industries. Additionally, growth in personal care and food & beverage sectors along with technical advancements have expanded applications for oleochemical derivatives.

Key Takeaways

Key players operating in the oleochemicals market are Change Healthcare (Now part of Optum, UnitedHealth Group), Cognizant, McKesson Corporation, Cerner Corporation, OptumInsight (UnitedHealth Group), TriZetto (A Cognizant Company), NTT DATA Corporation. Growing awareness about green chemicals and biomaterials among consumers has increased the demand for oleochemical-based products in personal care and homecare segments. Major players are investing in R&D to develop bio-lubricants, bio-solvents and green surfactants from palm, coconut, soy and other vegetable oils.

The global expansion of personal care & cosmetics industry has further augmented the consumption of oleochemicals. Increasing demand from emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America experiencing fast industrialization has opened lucrative growth opportunities.

Market Key Trends

The rising prominence of green surfactants obtained from natural polyol esters is transforming the oleochemicals industry. Compared to their ethoxylated counterparts, these biosurfactants are biodegradable and non-toxic. Their mild properties make them suitable for sensitive applications such as baby care and hair care products. Growing consumer preference for natural and sustainable ingredients is encouraging manufacturers to replace conventional surfactants with green derivatives. This shift towards eco-friendly solutions is expected to define new market trends.

Porter’s Analysis

Threat of new entrants: The Oleochemicals Market Demand  requires high capital investment for setting up production facilities and compliance to strict environmental regulations which acts as a deterrent for new players.

Bargaining power of buyers: There are many established buyers in end-use industries like personal care, soaps and detergents, food and beverages etc. However, the differentiated nature of products gives advantage to suppliers over price-sensitive buyers.

Bargaining power of suppliers: The raw materials for oleochemicals like palm oil, coconut oil, soybean oil etc. are commodities traded globally. This gives suppliers an edge in dictating prices over manufacturers.

Threat of new substitutes: Biodegradable and sustainable alternatives like plant-based feedstocks are gaining traction. However, oleochemicals still have advantages over substitutions in terms cost, functionality and widespread applications.

Competitive rivalry: The oleochemicals market is consolidated with top players occupying majority share. Industry players compete on parameters like product differentiation, innovation and geographical expansion.

Geographical regions where market is concentrated in terms of value: Asia Pacific dominates the oleochemicals market owing to large scale palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia which are key raw material suppliers. China and India also account for a major share of global oleochemicals consumption for their large personal care and detergent industries.

The fastest growing region for the market: The Middle East & Africa region is expected to register fastest growth during the forecast period on account of rising population, increasing spending power and growth in domestic manufacturing industries across countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt which will drive the demand for oleochemicals in personal care products, household chemicals, food additives and industrial applications.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it